Four hot new detective novels deliver juicy fall chills

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The house of ashes

By Stuart Neville

Soho Crime, 304 pages, $ 35.95

Stuart Neville’s new detective story leaves the impression that when it comes to male abuse of women, Northern Ireland operates at a particularly hideous level. Until now, Neville was known for his beautifully written Northern Irish noir. But with “The House of Ashes,” while the writing is still beautiful, Neville’s subject matter is the mistreatment of women by men – including murder – and women who find the courage to stand up. The horrific abuses span two intersecting periods where struggles for money and property define relationships. Readers may be tempted to skim over the grim descriptions, but whatever the reaction, Neville offers a remarkable, albeit disturbing, work on resilience and justice.

A picture in the lake

By Gail Bowen

ECW, 450 pages, $ 34.95

It is perhaps the most complete novel by Gail Bowen in her Joanne Kilbourn series, which is now up to 20 pounds. The new novel is 450 pages long, features 28 characters (plus dogs), and covers all of Regina and the surrounding countryside. A few suspicious deaths are part of the plot, but Joanne is not in great demand to apply her detective skills. A more insistent theme centers on Joanne’s revisiting of meanness that stepped into the past. There is the Jill case for a shocking example. She’s the former best friend who had a long, super-secret affair with Joanne’s first husband, which Joanne only learned about after a husband’s rat died. Jill makes a big comeback in the new book, and the question for us readers is how will Joanne and her children react? The book is rich in domestic subplots of this nature and, needless to say, the stories make for juicy material.

Disclaimer, by Beverley McLachlin, Simon & Schuster, 375 pages, $ 24

Denial

By Beverley McLachlin

Simon & Schuster, 375 pages, $ 24

Just because Beverley McLachlin sat as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada for 17 years does not mean that in her detective story she cannot have scandalous fun with Canada’s trial system. That’s what she does when it comes to the crunch in her twisty new novel set in Vancouver. The madness begins when Vera Quentin is accused of murdering her wealthy and sick mother by injecting her with a lethal dose of morphine. The play’s heroine, defense attorney Jilly Truitt, takes the case to trial where she discovers the main prosecution witness is Vera’s supposedly loving husband, Joseph, himself a wizard. of the British Columbia Defense Bar. While this plot setup seems to be pushing the limits of credibility, McLachlin is just beginning in a story heavy with red herrings, rugs pulled under readers’ feet, and other mainstays of conventional sleuthing.

Never Saw Me Coming, by Vera Kurian, Park Row Books, 392 pages, $ 34.99

I never saw myself coming

By Vera Kurian

Park Row Books, 392 pages, $ 34.99

The setting is a high powered university in Washington DC. The school’s psychology department kicks off the new academic year with something a little nervous about admitting seven students who have been diagnosed as psychopaths. Seven are smart, presentable, and have access to money in one way or another. They also have a history of serious criminal activity. The psychologists in the psychology department think they can solve any problem. They don’t know much. In no time at all, two of the seven psychopaths are murdered and another of the seven reveals that she is on a mission to fend off a final year student who raped her years earlier. The big surprise is that all the winding things – there are a lot more of them – seem believable enough to persuade readers to hang in there to solve the astonishing complexities.

JB

Jack Batten is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributor for The Star

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